I’ve not received any comment spam (or abusive comments) in my blog, but I’ve seen that others have. I did get a pneis enlrgaement* spam comment in one of my course blogs, but nothing here. In response to this phenomenon, which several people have been writing about lately, Matt thoughtfully asks a broader question about comments in general: do they skew how a blog is read? “[T]hereís a way in which open comments on every post alters the reception of the blog as a whole: the worth of an entry is implicitly measured by how many comments it garners.” Can we do without them, he wonders, relying instead on TrackBack? Of course, then maybe we’d just switch to an (un)conscious system by which an entry’s worth is related to the number of TrackBacks it receives. Anyway, it’s this kind of questioning that keeps me returning to Matt’s blog: comment spam leads to a larger consideration of the effect of comments versus TrackBacks on reading practices, or posting “hot” and then editing leads to the coining of a new term, “blog flutter.”
Some of us are more suited for digital studies than others. Comments like these evidence Matt’s admirable acumen for digital studies.
However, I would ask also whether the number of comments (or TrackBacks) an entry garners affects how it’s written. I received no comments on my course proposal entry or on my ASECS paper proposal. I’m not complaining, mind you, it’s just that I have this sense that the autobiographical stuff I write is of more interest to you, dear reader, than the entries about my teaching and research. So while lately I’ve been feeling like I should be writing what I tend to refer to as “substantial” entries (about, as my banner describes, “literature, technology, culture, education, academia”) as opposed to what I refer to instead as “self-indulgent autobiography,” I assume that many readers come to the blog for the latter more than for the former. Or for a mix of the two.
I’m still not ready to “out” myself as a blogger to the C18 community, which might lead to a different kind of community of readers on my blog. We’ll see.
*intentional misspelling to avoid undesired google hits